Stories by David DeJean

Usenet: Not dead yet

Over the last few years, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and other organizations looking to eliminate the illegal swapping of digital media files have attacked the problem through the courts, publicity campaigns, and other means. But while they've managed to close down some peer-to-peer operations, and have successfully (and not so successfully) sued individuals who were uploading movies and music to the Web, there is one part of the Internet that has, until now, been operating under their radar: Usenet.

15 great gadgets for the back-to-school crowd

"Excellence," said John W. Gardner, "is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." That's worth thinking about with back-to-school time right around the corner. Students these days take their computers everywhere and use them for everything, so with that in mind, here are some ideas for making the back-to-school computer experience an excellent one.

Online office apps get real

Web-based office suites are coming into their own at last. For quite a while, Web-based suites -- which offered word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and other tools associated with desktop office suites -- were extolled not because they did these things well, but because they could do them at all. But the three major competitors, Google Docs, ThinkFree, and Zoho, have all made major improvements in recent months. They're becoming both broader, with more applications, and deeper, with more features and functionality in existing apps.

The future of e-paper: The Kindle is only the beginning

Amazon.com's Kindle has turned a long under performing category of tech gadget -- e-book readers -- into an overnight hit, and in the process has boosted interest in electronic paper display (EPD) technology. The Kindle and its rival, the Sony Reader 505, both boast e-paper displays that look unnervingly like printed pages and consume next to no power. However, today's EPDs -- and today's e-book readers -- are only the beginning.

Eight incredibly useful tools for road warriors

When you're on the road, you can feel more like a juggler than a traveler: You've got your notebook, your smart phone, your camera, your GPS device, your MP3 player -- and all the power cords, USB drives and other gadgets that go with them.

Are iPhones from Mars and BlackBerrys from Venus?

When it comes to smart phone preferences, there are clear differences between the sexes, say market researchers and usability testers. And these differences have implications for the success the devices.

RedFly helps smartphone users do real work

In theory, it's possible to do real work such as composing e-mails and editing Microsoft Office documents on a smartphone. In reality, of course, few people use their smartphones for such tasks because of the small screen and tiny keyboard.

Windows XP: Going, going....gone?

The approaching death of Windows XP may upset you, but it shouldn't come as a surprise. Microsoft's product lifecycle guidelines have foretold the fate of XP since 2001. In fact, Microsoft has been killing off one version of a product as it is replaced with another for years now. But this time around, the approaching demise of XP is getting more attention than, say, the final passing of Windows 2000.

700wx gets Sprint back in the Treo game

The newest member of the Palm Treo smart phone family, the Treo 700wx, isn't just a cousin of the other models -- it's practically an identical twin of the existing 700w. Whether that's a good thing depends on your point of view.